Diamonds are a manager’s best friend: a look at the diamond formation

“They say diamonds aren’t forever, but they certainly are for this manager.”

So go the dulcet tones of Alan Smith on FIFA’s hugely popular football simulation game. Such is the rarity of the 4-3-1-2, 4-1-2-1-2 or 4-4-2 (diamond) formation that it has been gifted its very own Worcestershire cliché when deployed on games consoles across the land. Continue reading “Diamonds are a manager’s best friend: a look at the diamond formation”

Modern football and the art of adaptability

By Muyiwa Adagunodo

All things, concepts, inventions, jobs and ultimately humans, in the parenthesis of the world always need to evolve. The world is constantly evolving, thus, to not evolve is not only to be stagnant, it is to be behind. In this particular race, football is not left out as we have seen over the years constant improvement in this game, which on the flip side is millions of people’s jobs worldwide. In the top, top jobs all over the world, workers are never put in straight jacket conditions where the use of their initiative is suppressed. In fact, the use of initiative and having problem solving skills are the hallmarks of these top jobs. In this vein, football as a job is also not exempted as we have seen football players (who in the economic cycle are employees of clubs) develop attributes and master skills which have even become sort of like a niche and are iconic to some of these players. In this method of arbitration and scrutiny, we do not expect football managers and coaches to be left behind because fundamentally, as much as they are employees of these clubs, they are also responsible for the performances for the other employees (the players). It’s like the human resources wing of a company; except these managers are also in the forefront of questions as regards the performance of these employees and these human resource aspect of football is where our focus will be through this analysis.

Continue reading “Modern football and the art of adaptability”

Jorginho: Sarri’s brain on the pitch, the underrated herald of a new era at Stamford Bridge

By Wepea Buntugu

When Chelsea bought Jorginho from Napoli in the summer, it could be said that they were sending a message to the rest of the league. This message was furthered with the appointment of former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri as head coach. The Stamford Bridge side were committing to a new style of football, away from Conte’s 3-4-3 formation, and recruited the best duo in Naples to help usher in this new-look Chelsea.

Continue reading “Jorginho: Sarri’s brain on the pitch, the underrated herald of a new era at Stamford Bridge”

Advent Day 25 – Gianfranco Zola, the trendsetter for foreign imports in the Premier League

£4.5m. What would that get you in the upcoming January transfer window? A 34-year-old full-back who has made just one substitute appearance all season at West Ham? A goalkeeper you’ve never heard of from the Greek league? Well, obviously inflation is huge, but even in 1996, Gianfranco Zola was a bargain for Chelsea. In fact, in that year, the Stamford Bridge club could have bought, for example, one third of Alan Shearer, or three quarters of Nicky Barmby. He was a bargain of epic proportions and had a memorable career.

Continue reading “Advent Day 25 – Gianfranco Zola, the trendsetter for foreign imports in the Premier League”

Advent Day 13 – Michael Ballack, Germany’s nearly man born a decade too early

By Lewis Steele

“Football is a simple game. 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win” – Gary Lineker, 1990.

Over time, Germany as a footballing nation has been ruthless. They have had multiple times where the referee blows the full-time whistle and leave the watchers sat at home, thinking ‘How have they won that?’ It’s true, Germany do have their fair share of luck.

For Michael Ballack, it was a little different. He was Germany’s nearly man, described by Udo Muras for Die Welt as “the lone shining light in a leaden era” – he never had the glittering talents alongside him such as Toni Kroos or World Cup winner Mario Götze, instead he had Torsten Frings and Carstein Jancker as his teammates for Die Mannschaft.

Continue reading “Advent Day 13 – Michael Ballack, Germany’s nearly man born a decade too early”

Advent Day 11 – Didier Drogba, talisman of Chelsea and Côte d’Ivoire

Let us, for a second, pretend that it’s May 2012. Brexit isn’t a word yet, Donald Trump is an annoying TV star instead of an abhorrent world leader, London are getting ready to host the olympics and absolutely nail it. Our biggest worry is that an ancient Mayan calendar has foretold the apocalypse. It’s a better time.

Continue reading “Advent Day 11 – Didier Drogba, talisman of Chelsea and Côte d’Ivoire”